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Just another day at the office

by on October 3, 2010

Bob slouched into the staff room after his second shift in a row to see his friend and colleague crashed out a couch, staring glassy-eyed at one of the company-provided TVs. “Awright, Jeff.”
“Awright, Bob” he said, sitting up to shake his friend’s hand.
“How’s the family?”
“Can’t complain, can’t complain. Yours?”
“Good, thanks, mate.”
“You look comfy there,” Bob said. “You want me to bring you a cup of tea from the machine?”
“Brilliant. You’re a diamond, Bob, you really are.”
“Ah, shut it, you pansy,” he smiled. He slid over to the vending machine and punched in two teas, extra milk, extra sugar. Thirsty, tiring, work, this is.
Bob plomped down next to Jeff and passed him the drink. “What they playing?” he said, nodding up at the TV.
Jeff turned to him and glared. “You didn’t see the schedule?”
Bob shook his head.
“That one with Swayze and Demi Moore and the clay and the ‘Oooooh, myyyyyyy love.'”
“Really?”
“Yeah. I think it’s their idea of a joke,” he said, pointing a pale, slender finger at the ceiling. “A bit of seasonal humour. What with it being Halloween and all.”
Jeff sipped at his tea, stretched in his seat, then got up.
“Well mate, sorry to do this to you, but I’d better be off. Third shift’s up soon, and the living aren’t going to haunt themselves.”
“You back to Poltergeisting?”
“Yeah. Harder work, but the money’s better, innit?”
“Shake, rattle, and roll,” he said, giving Jeff a wink.
Bob glanced at his watch. Only another twenty minutes before next shift. He sighed and reached for the remote.

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8 Comments
  1. I enjoyed this a lot and chuckled often.

    Great voice – I see you’ve spent a lot of time lolling around the water cooler with under stimulated co-grinders.Really like the interaction between the characters – they seemed very natural but still really adorable/cute.
    I think the movie inclusion was a great idea – subtly suggesting the truth. I liked how the big twist is so quietly played and that it isn’t at the end – the last bits about poltergeist-ing being harder work really tie back to the cubicle-cultureness.

    I found – Jeff turned to him and glared. “You didn’t see the schedule?” – kind of jarring from the previous friendly banter and out of place with the rest of the casual chit-chat.

    • Thanks, man!

      Re water cooler: indeed I have. Let’s call it research :).

      Re glared: yeah, agreed. What I actually want there is “raised an eyebrow” or something similar.

  2. cbraz permalink

    I loved this. It was light and funny, and the interaction feels completely natural. I like the subtlety as well. When I re-read it, I noticed “slid over to the vending machine” and it was ghostly movement, but it was not strange to use for an alive person.

    I agree about the “glared” comments and your solution.

    • Yay, thank you, cbraz!
      At one point I was actually considering rewriting it so that there was no obvious physical contact with anything, but it got a bit silly…

      Re completely natural: I have good source material :).

  3. parfles permalink

    I absolutely love the dialogue, the causal tone of the piece, the voices of the characters. It is perfectly captured!

    My niggles are only with little bits of text outside of the spoken parts:

    Thirsty, tiring, work, this is. – I would have left out “tiring”
    Bob plomped down – “plomped” sounds wrong
    glared – as per other comments
    pointing a pale, slender finger – “slender” bothers me, seems out of character for the piece!

    But these are minor, and the piece is a lovely, funny thing! Thank you!

    • Thank you! 🙂

      Why ditch the tiring? Too many commas?
      I defend my plomped.
      I concur with the glare.
      I also concur with the slender. I didn’t quite like it, but the word is so nice I had to use it. Slender. Slender. Sleeeeender.

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